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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

258        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

Baptism, he believed, brought about a temporary restoration of
the original goodness that pertained to men before the Fall, but
was not in itself sufficient to keep them good. The only chance
of preventing the lapse from goodness was that afforded by the
constant watchfulness of Christian teachers all through childhood.
On the personal side, he had a deep love for children, which made
him regard the proper upbringing of them as the best service any
man can render to God, and which went far to mitigate the
severity to which his theology might otherwise have led him in
dealing with them.

It was his theological preconceptions which determined the
general organization of the schools. The fear of evil influences
conflicting with the grace that comes through baptism led him to
attempt to control the whole life of the boys committed to his
charge. It was a condition of entry into the schools that the pupils
should be completely surrendered by the parents, and not allowed
any contact with ordinary society; and for the sake of having
perfect supervision, not more than five or six pupils were
entrusted to one teacher, that being the number who could
sleep in his bedroom. The main emphasis was on religious
education, even to the point of prohibiting intellectual studies
to boys of special capacity, when such studies threatened to
endanger the spiritual life. The literature forming part of the
course of study was selected with meticulous care in view of
its moral and religious effects, and all doubtful passages were
expurgated.

It was certainly a very narrow view of education, and if St.
Cyran had lived it is unlikely that the schools would ever have
escaped from this narrowness. At his death, however, the work
passed into the hands of younger men who, though disciples in
the deeper things of faith, had yet been touched by the new
spirit that was abroad in France. The result was a modification
of the more austere elements of the system by an infusion of
Cartesian principles and of patriotic sentiments.

The object which the Jansenist " solitaries " set before them-
selves in the later years was still the forming of Christian character,
but intellectual studies took a more assured place in the curri-
culum. Mathematics, science, and history did not perhaps count
for so much as they did among the Oratorians, but at any rate
they counted for more than they did in other schools. The greatest